Verdict: Forced placement of alcoholics difficult

Verdict: Forced placement of alcoholics difficult

BGH: Alcohol addiction alone is no reason for psychiatry
(jur). Alcoholics should not be placed in closed psychiatric care against their will simply because of their alcohol addiction. Forced accommodation requested by your supervisor is only permitted if alcoholism "is causally related to a mental ailment, especially a mental illness" or the addiction has reached a corresponding extent, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe decided in one recently published decision of April 13, 2016 (Az .: XII ZB 95/16).

The BGH thus overturned a decision by the Itzehoe Regional Court to place a 51-year-old alcoholic in a closed psychiatric ward against his will. The man under care has been alcoholic for many years.

There were repeated deliriums and falls, which injured him. Several stays in supervised residential groups and clinics were unable to prevent frequent seizures and two attempts at suicide. The man's supervisor finally applied for closed accommodation.

A psychiatric expert found that the patient actually needed the "structure of a closed accommodation". However, he was still able to form free will to a limited extent. Accommodation was therefore not possible against his will.

After obtaining a second opinion, the district court approved a one-year placement. There were “organic brain changes and consequential damage such as cirrhosis of the liver. Alcoholism had reached the level of a "mental disorder", so that forced placement was permitted. There is a risk of self-harm due to illness. The 51-year-old completely denies the addiction pressure.

The BGH now overturned this judgment and referred the procedure back to the district court for further review. According to the statutory provisions, closed accommodation is only permitted if this serves the welfare of the person being cared for and if there is a risk of self-harm due to a mental illness or mental or intellectual disability. However, the person being cared for should not be accommodated against his free will.

Alcoholism in itself is not a mental illness or a mental or emotional disability. The mere risk of relapse does not justify any accommodation that the supervisor has requested. It was not sufficiently examined here to what extent the 51-year-old could still form free will. If there is free will, he is also free to "reject help", emphasized the Karlsruhe judges.

Here, the second report was flawed and not neutral, as it did not make sufficient statements on free will. The district court must now make up for this. (fle / mwo)

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